Most people dream about crazy, wild and unrealistic adventures. An epic underwater battle against a regiment of mermen riding seahorses, for instance, might be a typical dream for someone my age. Or they might have a remake of Die Hard play through their head with themselves as John McClane while catching some shut-eye.
I, however, rarely dream (and remember to tell the tale). But when I do, it's almost always about gadgets and gizmos, new phones, laptops, cameras and mostly tablets. Okay, that's a stretch. But it sounded good, right?
I imagine that's what everyone who isn't quite as enthralled by tablets as I am thinks. Since I love tablets so much, I must dream about them every night. Right? Wrong, but I do love the buggers. And recently, even though I use an iPad every single day, I'm beginning to miss the extra functionality out of a 10-inch Android tablet. (Good thing I kept my ol' Transformer Prime around.)
This morning, though, I asked myself a question: "If I were in the market to buy an Android tablet right this second, which one would I buy?" It's a seemingly simple question to answer, but even my own response caught me off guard. There are only three Android tablets I would even consider buying (one isn't available … yet), and all of them are made by ASUS.
Immediately, I had the thought: "I'm such an ASUS fanboy." (Yes, I've been debating this in my head since I woke up, quite possibly even audibly talking to myself.) But this isn't exactly fanboysim. I don't like ASUS tablets because they're the best and everything else sucks. No, I've had other tablets, and when I had them, most of them were great. But ASUS is killing their competitors with value proposition.
ASUS is literally the only Android manufacturer who is pushing the envelope in the tablet sector and pricing their slates competitively … and appropriately.
Take the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1, for example. This morning, pre-orders for the 10-inch slate opened on J&R. (The two product pages, one for the 16GB variant and one for the 32GB model, have since been taken down.) For $499, you could claim a 16GB Galaxy Note 10.1, which ships with a 1.4GHz quad-core Exynos processor, 10.1-inch WXGA (1,280 by 800 pixels) display, 1GB RAM, a 5-megapixel rear camera with a 2-megapixel front-facing camera and a S Pen (inductive stylus). For $50 you can bump the built-in storage to 32GB.
For $100 less than the 16GB Galaxy Note 10.1, you could simply buy the similarly spec'd ASUS Transformer Pad 300. The base model comes with 32GB built-in memory, a 1.2GHz Tegra 3 processor, the same size and resolution IPS LCD display and an 8-megapixel camera. Another $150 on top of that (so for the same price as the 32GB Galaxy Note 10.1), you can also add a keyboard dock to your Transformer Pad 300, essentially turning it into an Android-powered netbook of sorts.
The Transformer Pad 300's next of kin, the Transformer Pad Infinity is still pending release (just four more days, for those of you keeping count). For $499, the Transformer Pad Infinity touts 32GB built-in storage, 1GB RAM, 1.6GHz Tegra 3 quad-core processor, a 2-megapixel front-facing shooter, a 8-megapixel rear camera and, best of all, a 10.1-inch Super IPS+ LCD display with a resolution of 1,920 by 1,200 pixels. Another $100 will get you the 64GB variant, and for $150 more, you can sport the extremely useful keyboard dock.
And then there's the Google Nexus 7, which was designed and manufactured by ASUS. This 7-inch tablet will only set buyers back a very respectable $200 (or $250 for the higher capacity model) and still comes with monster specs. The internals are: either 8GB or 16GB of internal storage, 1GB RAM, 1.2-megapixel front-facing camera, a 4,325mAh battery, a 1.3GHz Tegra 3 quad-core processor and a 7-inch display with 1,280 by 800 pixel resolution.
Specifications aren't everything, of course. (I weighed that one last night.) You can compare white paper all day and never truly understand which tablet is the best choice specifically for your needs. But I've had several Samsung tablets to date, three ASUS tablets, countless iPads and a few odds and ends tablets, too. Despite potentially sounding like an ASUS fanboy, I'm confident in saying they seriously have something going on that no other tablet manufacturer wishes to or can compete with.
Look at the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1. With essentially the same specifications as the original model plus a microSD card slot, the 16GB model sells for $399. And the Motorola DROID XYBOARD has almost identical specifications to the Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 (plus wireless 3G and 4G LTE radios), and the going rate on it right now is $529.99 (don't even think about buying it on contract over at Verizon anymore).
I'd say, for the money, ASUS easily has the best offers on Android tablets over just about anyone. It's crazy, but despite all the different choices, if I were giving a recommendation, the two latest tablets (Transformer Pad 300 and Nexus 7) and the one upcoming (Transformer Pad Infinity) from ASUS are the only ones I could honestly suggest buying. I think it's time some other manufacturers learn the meaning of "differentiation" and "competitive" and apply them to their tablets already.